Board not pleased with park’s new softball field

EAST LIVERPOOL – With softball season just around the corner, members of the city school board’s athletic committee have come out in opposition to the way a new softball field has been constructed at Thompson Park.

At Monday night’s school board meeting, athletic committee member Richard Wolf announced that the committee had met earlier in the day and voted unanimously for a resolution expressing its displeasure at “the fact that we’re paying a sizable amount for a new softball field at Thompson Park but it’s not in compliance with softball standards.”

According to Wolf, girls’ softball is played on a dirt infield, not the grass one that has been installed at the new field.

“Why this was done, we have no way of knowing. We had no input. Our kids will be playing on a field like they’ll be playing on no where else in the state,” Wolf complained.

He said the project was “fraught with people not authorized to make decisions,” even though the field was constructed primarily with school district money and primarily for the district’s girls’ team.

He suggested a meeting with the park board to discuss the issue, which also has been a bone of contention with one parent who has addressed the park board more than once, complaining that the grass field is not what the team is accustomed to.

Committee Chairman Scott Dieringer said the Ohio High School Athletic Association does allow for grass fields and also presented an email from an OHSAA official saying it is not required for girls to play on a “skinned,” or dirt, infield and grass is permissible, but that tournaments cannot be played on grass infields.

Wolf said that, although it has been said the athletic director was aware of plans for a grass field, he denies having any knowledge of it.

Dieringer said the contract for the field was presented to the board some time ago and it was approved but said now “we need to make sure we’re all on the same page.”

The board voted to have someone speak to the park board and present the athletic committee’s concerns.

Also Monday, following an executive session of more than an hour, the board voted to deny four grievances filed by OAPSE members Lisa Penn, Cindy Wolfe, Traci Scott and Randy Bogart regarding their desire to hold more than one job in the district.

After the meeting, Herring said the grievances were denied to allow more time to sit down with OAPSE members and discuss the issue, which he said he is certain can be worked out.

Several OAPSE workers attended the meeting but did not offer any comment.

Dieringer commented during the meeting on a vote taken at the last meeting, which he left early, regarding sending letters to the state’s attorney general and various agencies, voicing opposition to a proposed active shooter response training for educators.

The board voted to also discourage employees from participating in such training. Some district teachers did, however, take part in a training session over the past weekend.

Dieringer said he would not have voted in favor, had he been present, saying the board should never discourage teachers or administrators from attending such training and that, while he doesn’t condone putting guns in every teacher’s hands, “we need to think hard about what we do.”

The motion at the last meeting was made by Wolf, who said at this week’s meeting that the press release from the attorney general on which he based his motion was “grossly misleading and the only thing I had to go on.”

He was called by an AG official after reading of the board’s decision in the paper and told he was wrong and misleading, but Wolf said, “I told him his press release was misleading.”

In other personnel matters, the board approved the resignation of bus aide Ruth Osborn; Steve Dawson as a crossing guard at North Elementary; and Rosemary Waddle as afternoon custodian at LaCroft Elementary.

Also approved was the purchase of 400 cases of paper at $10,100 from Liberty Distributors Inc. of Triadelphia, W.Va.

A recommendation was approved to allow teacher Phillip Davis to attend an all-expense-paid trip to the Intel National Science Fair in Phoenix which he won by submitting an essay to a national contest sponsored by the Discovery Channel.

The board’s next regular meeting will be at 6 p.m. Feb. 11.